Why We Need More Scientists

Why We Need More Scientists from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

In the United States, more scientists are needed because of the considerable gap that is growing between the US and the rest of the world in terms of scientific abilities. Children, particularly girls, need to be encouraged at a young age to take up science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Keep reading to see why we need more scientists.

I had this same conversation not long ago with my friend Liz, who has a Ph.D. in BioChemistry. In fact, she has been asked several times to write articles about this predicament.

According to Pew Research, America is nearing the bottom in terms of rank in relation to the 35 most developed countries in the world in STEM.

What’s Holding Kids Back?

One explanation is that US education has become so focused on exams or, as my teacher friends call it, “ teaching the test” learning that the natural curiosity of children is being erased. But the education system can’t take all the blame. Parents do it too.

We get irritated when our kids ask us “Why?” all the time. I mean, think about it, you are driving in a car with your child, and you get the dreaded “Why?” It seems like just as soon you answer that one why, another why comes out of that answer. It is a never-ending battle. We don’t know the answers, don’t have time to find out, and don’t encourage our children to find out either.

But with an entire world of knowledge right at our fingertips thanks to the internet, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can support children as they seek answers. I know I am the first one to say let’s google it.  Teachers can foster an atmosphere in their classrooms where it is okay to ask questions without seeming silly in front of their peers.

They can also be more approachable, being willing to answer questions after class, or by appointment with the student. Not every child is going to be an Einstein, but often the support and encouragement of a teacher or mentor can lead to great things.

Attracting Talent into Teaching

Another central issue is that very few STEM graduates go into teaching. Few would opt for teaching in primary school, but those are exactly the years at which a child’s imagination can be captured.

In middle school, science is often treated as optional and for the best students only, leaving the majority without access. In high school, a crammed timetable often means science gets shortchanged. It becomes difficult and something to be endured, not an exciting career choice.

This is especially true for girls. They tend to be steered towards arts subjects, not STEM. This gender bias has serious consequences in terms of career options for women and career advancement if they do decide to pursue a STEM career.

The report “Why So Few?” gives a number of reasons for this, including unconscious bias and a lack of role models, and makes various suggestions as to how things can change for the better:

Growing the Economy

STEM helps grow the economy, which is a good thing for all. Competition and profitable new technologies stimulate profits and increase the value of companies and their stocks and shares. They create jobs for others as well. How do you ask? There is such competition for research jobs that companies like MyBekins.com, the moving company, are also benefiting because research labs and colleges are always trying to poach each other employees.

Japan, South Korea, and Germany are just three of the top countries which have led the way in terms of technological innovation like this one from https://northernmat.ca/products/rig-mats/. That innovation comes from those who dare to ask “Why” and try to come up with solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Respect for Science

Science does not have all the answers, but scientists do actively seek knowledge and the truth.

Exposure to science from a young age will help foster a more curious worldview, making children eager to learn and grow up doing something they are passionate about, even though it might not be science-related.

Hopefully, awareness of the issue is the first step. And any parent would do well to encourage their children to follow where their hearts lead them, and if it is in the science field, then that is great.  

So you see, that is why we need more scientists?

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